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The Forum > Article Comments > Universities have been starved of support > Comments

Universities have been starved of support : Comments

By Andrew Brennan and Jeff Malpas, published 19/12/2007

There can be no 'education revolution' that does not include a revolution in higher education.

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So universities are for education and research. Is this theoretical only, or does it actually occur.

There are universities that have cut back on science courses, not because of a lack of funding, but because of a lack of students. Meanwhile other universities have brought their OP entrance scores down to the lowest levels they possibly can, so as to attract students into their science and maths courses.

There is university research being undertaken that has no relationship at all to the scientific method.

There are universities who are churning out students who have the highest levels of discriminatory attitudes. It is now at the stage where a university student or a university staff member can say or write anything discriminatory that they want, as long as it is discriminatory of the male gender.

An example is here, where a university student studying for a PhD has written the most discriminatory remarks about “men” (and this includes all men). That student will probably be rewarded for her discrimination by being given a PhD.

Universities are no longer for education and research. They have simply become left central, and feminist central.
Posted by HRS, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 10:06:54 AM
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When ever Keating popped up and mentioned Howards' ideological agenda, Costello, et al would shoot back with the Piggery. Ditto academics.

I agree entirely with the first thread. Some unis have a case to feel hard done by. Back in 98/99 the Libs ripped $4b out of the tertiary sector (which had drastic flow on effects for TAFE) and recently they promised to put $4b back.

What they have failed to realise is that Governments of all hues want them to be competitive. Course that can't compete must die. If social sciences isn't offered at La Trobe, enrol at Monash or vice a versa.

University and the professoriate have been their own worst enemies. They wandered around like Brown's Cows at AVCC for 10 years, unable to produce a consistent political line. In large part, they are responsible for the blight their institutions are in.

The writers do have a point about red tape. There needs to drastic cuts to both Federal, state and internal university admin numbers. Simplify the audit process but make universities accountable to the public purse.
Posted by Cheryl, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 10:50:15 AM
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a modest proposal: disband universities. they are quite useless. almost all is make-work, drone academics going through tribal rituals for status and pay. genuine additions to knowledge can be gained by importing technology and trained people.

the money saved can be spent giving children a good basic education, and sponsoring a few high-flyers at good unis in india or china, if they look likely to do breakthrough work.

the young people who would have gone to a meaningless uni course can do a tech school instead: we need plumbers and carpenters, dentists and electricians, more than diplomates in "business studies".
Posted by DEMOS, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 11:46:15 AM
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The politicians show their hand by making education more elitist and for the rich. Labor and Liberal government alike are turning Australian universities into ‘big business’ that will be forced to survive by attracting full fee-paying students and corporate sponsorship. The full destructive force of the market will undermine education itself as profit dominates over all considerations. Instead of creatively enhancing education, cuts in staff, resources and pay will come into play or prominence. Courses will be cut, face to face teaching times minimized; teaching by tape recordings has been tried.
Many universities are raising fees to the maximum level, driving students deeper into poverty and life-long debt. Typical fees will be about $15,000 for a three-year arts degree, $20,000 for a science degree and nearly $40,000 for a five-year law degree. And degrees for the airline industry extraordinary large. All this, irrespective of paying for university education possibly two times over through taxes (which apparently does not count) so you then start off again by paying large HECS or money up front.
Moreover universities have bumped the number of full fee-paying places from 25 percent to 35 percent of enrolments. Starved of public funds, they are becoming dependent on this highly lucrative market, where students pay up to $150,000 for an undergraduate degree. In 2004 Australian universities raked in more than $5 billion in full fees annually from overseas students, making the industry one of the country’s largest export earners
Posted by johncee1945, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 5:12:33 PM
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I am a young academic who started working full-time at an Australian university two years ago. The tasks I and my colleagues (from junior lecturers to chair professors) are given on a day to day basis typically include: lecturing, tutoring, writing up teaching materials, articles, books, and proposals and budgets for competitive government grants, also building and running course websites, securing copyrights, answering phone calls and emails from students about when and where lectures, tutorials and exams are on and other general inquiries, as well as photocopying handouts, trolleying exam papers back to our office, marking them, entering marks and other student data into different systems, posting marked assignments back to students, organizing seminars, conferences, designing and printing posters, looking for affordable venues and caterers, looking for new markets of full-fee paying students, writing many reports and filling in many forms to prove to the bureaucrats in the administration that we are doing everything they ask us to do; as well as buying and changing light bulbs for our desk lamps, and, since recently, also removing general rubbish from our offices every day.

No one could be a teacher, a researcher, a marketer, a webmaster, a clerk, a receptionist as well as a janitor all at once, and still maintain standards. On the perception that academics are free-riders: the fact is that the majority of academics have to work on weekends, holidays and on unpaid leave, in order to finish the tasks expected of them. Why are the bureaucrats who invented all those systems to monitor the academics not providing them with proper ground-level secretarial support at the teaching and research fronts, so that academics would not be run into the ground? It hurts so much to see that we as a professional group are so much hated and despised by so many people in society, who none the less are happy to benefit from the training of the lawyers, school teachers, nurses, doctors, dentists, engineers, accountants and other professionals which is provided by us in the universities.
Posted by LYS, Wednesday, 19 December 2007 6:11:07 PM
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